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Music

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY: QUEEN’s Greatness

Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury); Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas.

Written by

Jude Bautista

Brian May (Gwilym Lee): See, we don’t want to repeat ourselves the same formula over and over.Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek): Formulas are a complete and utter waste of time.Ray Foster (Mike Myers): Formulas work. Lets stick with the formulas. I like formulas.Freddie: We’ll call the album A NIGHT AT THE OPERA. Ray: Are you aware that no one actually likes opera? Miami Beach (Tom Hollander): I like opera.Ray: Do you?John Reid (Aidan Gillen): I do.

Mike Myers as Record Exec Ray Foster; Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas.

Freddie: Don’t misunderstand darling, it’s a rock and roll record but the scale of opera, the pace of Greek tragedy, the wit of Shakespeare, the unbridled joy of musical theater. It’s a musical experience rather than just another record. Something for everyone, something…that will make people feel it belongs to them. We’ll mix genres; we’ll cross boundaries. We’ll speak in bloody tongues if we want to. John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello): There’s no musical ghetto that can contain us. Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy): No one knows what QUEEN means because it doesn’t mean one thing!

from left: Gwilym Lee (Brian May), Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury)
and Joseph Mazzello (John Deacon).Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas.

Their era was a time when rock stars were like gods and there was no bigger name than QUEEN. BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY, the movie will take fans on that journey from obscurity to possibly the greatest band of all time. I feel this is the best rock roll movie ever made since PURPLE RAIN from the late great Prince. It’s the best two hours you can spend inside a darkened cinema without having sex or foreplay. All the intimate moments, sometimes tumultuous that resulted in some of the greatest lyrics and music ever writtenand performed are shared and recreated here.

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The Greatest Ever?

The consensus that THE BEATLES is the greatest is up for debate especially when you watch this film. QUEEN is up there in terms of numbers and popularity: the biggest crowd ever assembled for a concert 130,000 in Brazil, their song WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS was voted as the greatest rock and roll song in a global music poll and the greatest rock performance of all time: QUEEN in LIVE AID. Their album sales topped 300 million worldwide making them as one of the best selling artists.

They also produced the top stadium anthems played over and over in all of the biggest sporting events around the world: WE WILL ROCK YOU, WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS and RADIO GAGA. Music critic Paul Gambaccini made note of the fact that Freddie Mercury never saw a single football match in his life; from QUEEN MERCURY RISING video documentary.

QUEEN Mercury Rising

More than that is the experimentation in sound and the sheer audacity of crossing genres from opera to ballads to disco from what is essentially a heavy metal band.

from left: Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor), Gwilym Lee (Brian May), Joseph Mazzello (John Deacon) and Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury). Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas.

In terms of experimentation no one could never touch the creativity of QUEEN. Other bands all mostly stayed in their lane while QUEEN at its worst most criticized album HOT SPACE, dominated the disco charts. Which is unthinkable for a guitar screeching, rock laden, metal band.

right: Gwilym Lee (Brian May) explains his audience participation concept to Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury). Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas.

That same album also happened to have UNDER PRESSURE their collaboration with David Bowie which received critical praise decades after it was first released. The dialogue above (and many others in the movie) helps viewers understand the band’s mind set as far as breaking barriers in music is concerned.

NEW TRESemmé Range

Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury); Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas.

Freddie’s Vocals

Apart from the creative side of writing lyrics, music conceptualizing music videos, costumes etc is the performance side. That is where the consensus falls in favor of Freddie Mercury. No one in recent history, in any genre can match the colossal vocal range he was capable of. Youtuber POLYPHONIC in his video ‘The Secret Behind Freddie Mercury’s Legendary Voice’ was able to collate the research from the past decades concerning his voice.

Polyphonic video

His voice ranged from a Low F2 to a Soprano F6 but more than this is his ability to use it and maximize it to his advantage. Spanish Opera singer Montserrat Caballé said, “The difference between Freddie and all other rock stars was that he was selling the voice. His phrasing was subtle, delicate and sweet or energetic and slamming. He was able to find the right coloring or expressive nuance for each word.” The song that illustrates this (according to the video) is SOMEBODY TO LOVE.

Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury); Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas.

2016 Research

In 2016 a group of researchers published: FREDDIE MERCURY ACOUSTIC ANALYSIS OF SPEAKING FUNDAMENTAL FREQUENCY, VIBRATO AND SUBHARMONICS. It discovered that Mercury, ‘frequently sang in the tenor register, his natural voice was actually a baritone. It was no trouble at all for Freddie to jump out of his natural range throughout his career’.

Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury); Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas.

He also had a highly irregular and unique vibrato that made his voice standout. He was also able to use subharmonic tones although the study did not determine if this was something that Mercury did intentionally or out of instinct. The unique vibrato can be heard in the hit WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS.

Joseph Mazzello (John Deacon); Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas.

What the fresh research and scientific analysis gives us is empirical proof of Freddie Mercury’s superiority if you will over names like John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin), Mick Jagger (Rolling Stones). We see that Mercury’s vast vocal range combined with his unique use subharmonics gives him a quantitative edge over other vocalists of some of the ‘Greatest Ever Rock Bands’. This is based on measurable data and analysis.

Gwilym Lee (Brian May); Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas.

Brian May: Among The Top Guitarists of All Time

Just as distinctive as Freddie’s voice is the aggressive guitar solos of Brian May.Whether it is in the epic BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY, KILLER QUEEN or SEVEN SEAS OF RHYE to the HIGHLANDER theme WHO WANTS TO LIVE FOREVER (which May wrote and composed) what distinguishes Brian May is that he not only plays lead guitar but actually writes or composes his own guitar solos for these legendary songs.

Queen – Who Wants To Live Forever (Official Video)

Brian May learned and played the guitar at a young age starting with the ukelele. Since they could not buy him an electric guitar he made his own with his father Harold. This early creation has now earned several names: Fireplace or The Old Lady. The name comes from the sources of materials. May shared, “The oak panel on the back is from an old table top, the neck is from a fireplace which was 100 years old at the time. The dot markers were from my mom’s button box…I think this was also the first guitar in the world to have a tremolo with almost zero friction.”

from right: Gwilym Lee (Brian May) and Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury). Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas.

Credible Proof from Steve Vai

Multiple Grammy winner and one of the world’s top guitarists himself, Steve Vai said, “I don’t think enough is really said about the brilliance of Brian May’s guitar playing, in the sense that it’s overshadowed by the greatness of the music itself. The QUEEN II album was one of those pivotal moments that just nailed me to the wall.”

Vai is able to put May in context against other great guitarists as well, “He’s probably one of the top identifiable guitar players, even more so than Beck, Page and Clapton. They’re all so identifiable, but Brian May had such a tone in his head and in his fingers. It speaks volumes. His contribution to orchestrated guitars is unprecedented. There was nothing like it before him. He’s a class act from head to toe, and it shows in his playing. I can listen to any player and pantomime their sound, but I can’t do Brian May. He’s just walking on higher ground.” The description is from Guitar World magazine’s article entitled: Thirty Great Guitarists — Including Steve Vai, David Gilmour and Eddie Van Halen — Pick the Greatest Guitarists of All Time

Brian (ranked 26) is listed higher than John Lennon (ranked 55) but lower than George Harrison (ranked 11) in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitarists. Every other list, however,has May higher than Harrison. In Guitar World’s Greatest Guitarist of All Time Reader’s Poll – Brian May finished second to Eddie Van Halen. It was a mammoth 132 guitarist tournament that spanned 6 months and got more than half a million votes. The two beat out the likes of Jeff Beck, Slash, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Satriani, Jimmy Page, Randy Rhoads and a host of others. George Harrison ended up at no. 25 in this exhaustive poll.

Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury); Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas.

The Ultimate Live Experience

Its almost cliché when other bands say they are the best live performer but QUEEN delivered this in every aspect. Apart from the sheer vocal power of Freddie it was his ability to enunciate each word clearly and add the right emotional phrasing. This enhanced his ability to literally command tens of thousands of audience members to sing with him and basically do whatever he wants.

Before anyone else they defined audience participation by incorporating it in their songs, that’s why they became arena anthems. In concerts upwards of 100,000 the experience was far more powerful and exhilarating than any other band could muster. You had tens of thousands singing along, clapping and chanting in unison whether its WE WILL ROCK YOU, WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS or RADIO GAGA. Add the matchless guitar playing of Brian May, powerful drum beats of Roger Taylor and haunting bass line of John Deacon QUEEN is the ultimate live band.

Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas. Photo from Official facebook https://www.facebook.com/pg/BohemianRhapsodyMovie

People will get to see an enhanced version of QUEEN’s LIVE AID segment in the movie. It’s better than the actual footage because there’s better camera movement and editing. The band’s actual audio or sound performance is seamlessly mixed into the movie, along with vocals of Rami Malek and American Idol Alumnus Adam Lambert. With today’s Dolby ATMOS Surround sound system in cinemas, I feel its better than live.

foreground: Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor)– (nearer audience) from left: Gwilym Lee (Brian May), Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury) and Joseph Mazzello (John Deacon). Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas.

QUEEN’s Head To Head Battle

LIVE AID in 1985 was so monumental because the simultaneous concerts raised  £150 million pounds for the benefit of the Ethiopian famine. All of the biggest names in the music industry were there. Of particular interest were the legendary bands like THE WHO, surviving members of LED ZEPPELIN, vocalists Mick Jagger (THE ROLLING STONES), even Paul McCartney (THE BEATLES). Both Mick and Paul however, jammed with other artists instead of their original bands.

Mike Myers (Ray Foster) photo bombs cast mates. Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas. Photo from Official facebook
https://www.facebook.com/pg/BohemianRhapsodyMovie

All of these bands mentioned above were all ranked higher than QUEEN in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. But LIVE AID was the singular biggest collection of artists that allowed people to see, hear and experience them in one concert, perhaps compare them side-by-side.

from left: Joseph Mazzello (John Deacon) and Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury). Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas.

While it’s not a definitive competition, it’s a strong indication of how these bands perform live. And it was QUEEN who was hands down able to steal the show from all of them. They not only had the biggest audience reaction at Wembley but their performance actually inspired a wave of phone calls from TV audiences to donate to the cause. Organizer Bob Geldof himself attests to this. What happened in LIVE AID bolsters the belief that QUEEN is the greatest band ever.

Watchmojo actually considers QUEEN’S LIVE AID appearance as the best not just for that event but THE GRATEST live performance ever. Their selection spans concerts from the 1950’s with artists like Elvis, The Beatles, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash to the most recent DAFT PUNK appearance at Coachella.

Top 10 Greatest Live Musical Performances

Greater Together

This is where the movie BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY is able to illuminate the true story of QUEEN. We find out that drummer Roger Taylor did a lot of vocal work in Bohemian, albeit under the direction of Freddie. Taylor also wrote a ton of QUEEN’s hits: THESE ARE THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES (1991) etc. Bassist John Deacon composed the basic rhythm of ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST and BODY LANGUAGE, which took the band in the new and different direction of disco.

from left: Joseph Mazzello (John Deacon), Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor), Gwilym Lee (Brian May) and Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury). Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas.

Gerard Way of MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE credits QUEEN as their biggest influence. He said, “BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY is arguably the greatest song ever written. I’m sure people told them it was too long or had too many movements. But then it came out and just took hold of the world. When you’re in a band and you find something that breaks every rule, it gives you creative hope. And QUEEN were always trying something new; none of their hit songs were paint-by-numbers.”

Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas. Photo from Official facebook https://www.facebook.com/pg/BohemianRhapsodyMovie

Sometimes it’s the conflict, the push and pull between great minds that result in landmark work. That’s what we witness throughout the movie. The real secret is that it wasn’t just about Freddie or Brian, it was about each of them working, creating this genius we all know and love as QUEEN.

It’s easy to think or to say they had the best vocalist and guitarist but they were actually more than that. Whatever your basis, sheer popularity, musicality, talent, breaking norms and genre barriers, they’ve achieved it all. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts that’s why QUEEN is the greatest band of all time.

Watch out for part 2 of this series, which talks about the cast of BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY.

from left Gwilym Lee (Brian May),Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor), Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury) and Joseph Mazzello (John Deacon).Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas.

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Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas. Photo from Official facebook https://www.facebook.com/pg/BohemianRhapsodyMovie

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Gwilym Lee (Brian May); Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas.

Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas. Photo from Official facebook https://www.facebook.com/pg/BohemianRhapsodyMovie

Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury); Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas.

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from left: Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury), Joseph Mazzello (John Deacon) and Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor). Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas.

Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury); Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas.

Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury); Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas.

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Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury); Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas.

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Catch BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY in Shang Plaza Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Eastwood City Mall and Resort’s World Manila Cinemas. Photo from Official facebook https://www.facebook.com/pg/BohemianRhapsodyMovie

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Underage Love in POLICEMAN AND ME

Tao Tsuchiya (Kako); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Delicate, mahal ko.

Written by

Jude Bautista

There’s something about her delicate face, her vulnerability that draws him in. He couldn’t quite explain it. So when he found out she was catching the last train home, he quickly volunteered to walk her there. They had less than a few minutes to catch it so they had to run. The night air rushed through their faces, neither of them knew when they ran as fast or could explain why they were smiling, giggling.

As they turned a corner they see the last tram going off the station, just missing it. Both were disappointed. Kota Sagano (Kazuya Kamenashi) surprised himself when he looked down, he was still holding her hand.Their plans change and he instead asks to call a cab for Kako Motoya (Tao Tsuchiya).

Tao Tsuchiya (Kako) and Kazuya Kamenashi (Kota); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Kota: Do you have a boyfriend? Kako: If I did I wouldn’t have joined the mixer. Kota: I see. You don’t have one. That’s good.  Kako: What about you? Kota: I’m currently single. Next time can the two of us meet up? Kako: What? Kota: No…That is if you don’t hate that. Kako: Not at all. [Both of them laugh]Kota: How do I put it, sometimes I say thank you too much or being too polite without being honest. What I really want is to get to know you better, that’s how I feel. How long have you been living here?

Tao Tsuchiya (Kako) and Kazuya Kamenashi (Kota); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Kako: Well, all my 16 years. Kota: I see…(His face suddenly changes) What?? 16 years? Aren’t you 22 years old? (Sensing his growing anger and frustration she immediately bows) Kako: I’m sorry. Actually today I was just called to fill in for someone. I had to say my age was 22 years old. The tone of his voice changes too. Kota: (Looks disappointed) You have to go home now. Kako: Can’t we at least exchange emails? Kota: Huh? You still have the nerve to say that? Stop this nonsense…little brat. Kako: (Screams) I’m sorry! (She then immediately runs away)

The English title of this Japanese movie is POLICEMAN AND ME the original is P to JK  (PとJK P to JK) acronyms for Police and Joshi Kōsei, Japanese for “high school girl”. P to JK is actually a wildly successful manga (comic book) created by Maki Miyoshi. It’s a title that was started in 2013 that is still currently on going. Each volume seems to outsell the previous one. By 2016 the series has sold 2.1 million copies. POLICEMAN AND ME is currently airing on RED by HBO.

from left: Daigo Nishihata (Jiro), Mahiro Takasugi (Okami), Tao Tsuchiya (Kako) and Tina Tamashiro (Mikado); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

The story isn’t your typical manga romance, which deals with teen marriage. Kota Sagano, a 26-year-old cop, genuinely falls for Kako Motoya a 16-year-old highschooler, he mistakes as 22. He didn’t want to sully her reputation by just dating her, especially at that age. He also didn’t want to let go and not see her at all. So he decided to propose marriage to her and ask her hand in marriage from her parents. 16 is the minimum marrying age for women in Japan but requires parental consent.

from left: Rie Tomosaka (mom), Tao Tsuchiya (Kako), Jun Murakami (Dad); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Their plan was to keep it under wraps from most people until she graduated. Her father was understandably against it but felt powerless to prevent them from the marriage. Kako reached a compromise with her father to not get her pregnant until after graduation. There weren’t any vulgar sex scenes, quite the opposite. Both of them seemed to be quite awkward in that regard.

Tao Tsuchiya (Kako) and Kazuya Kamenashi (Kota); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Lead Stars

Tao Tsuchiya is adorable as Kako, with equal parts of innocence, naiveté, stubbornness and determination. Not knowing how to be physically affectionate with her husband she’d approach him, close her eyes and pucker her lips waiting for him to kiss her.

Kazuya Kamenashi as Kota is the bigger star of the two as an established success in both music and film. Most fans agree he played the character close to the manga version.

Tao Tsuchiya (Kako) and Kazuya Kamenashi (Kota); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Aging, Shrinking Population

From an outsider, accepting the under age factor may be too much to ask. Especially if you think that even the manga or comic book is classified in the ‘shojo’ genre, which is targeted for young girls.

This is one story that may highlight cultural differences. In the U.S. or even here in the Philippines getting married at 16 or even 18 is sometimes perceived as a problem. Teen pregnancy is something that has to be addressed as an issue and concern. While not necessarily ‘normal’ in Japan, there seems to be some factors why or how the government can view teen marriage as a positive.

Mahiro Takasugi (Okami); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

With an aging population, there’s an increasing need for higher birthrates. Social scientists, even political experts have all agreed that the aging population will also lead to it shrinking. By 2050 Japan’s current 127million will only be 107 million. ‘The demographic shift is threatening the existence of rural communities, contributing to a ballooning public debt and starving the economy of labor.’[From Japan’s Shrinking Population by Isabel Reynolds –Bloomberg.com]

Tina Tamashiro (Mikado); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Basically there are not enough young people to work in farms, or supply the labor force in other sectors that keep the whole country running. This is only one of the problems they face.Which isn’t to say that either the manga or the film was necessarily government produced. But rather, getting married younger and having a higher probability of having children (or more children) is a message that may be made acceptable because of this problem.

Tao Tsuchiya (Kako) and Mahiro Takasugi (Okami);Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Hiroki’s Wide Shot

Ryūichi Hiroki as director was able to balance a certain amount of realism and the fantasy or romance of the relationship that attracted so many readers. His style was very unobtrusive but in my mind quite effective. I loved his use of long shots even during dialogue. The shot size of the people talking, take up only 1/4th or a quarter of the screen.

Tao Tsuchiya (Kako) and Kazuya Kamenashi (Kota); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

From a wide shot or long shot Hiroki sometimes would dolly in almost imperceptibly during a dialogue scene. The longer or wider shot removes the need to cut from one face to the next making it more efficient, editing wise. We get to appreciate the performance and delivery even more in my opinion. Then when the lines necessitate, he moves into a close up. Because he uses the close up less it then becomes more effective in a way. As a viewer you don’t necessarily notice his techniques, doesn’t call attention to itself, but you can ‘feel’ it.

Tao Tsuchiya (Kako) and Kazuya Kamenashi (Kota); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Ota City

An added benefit to the wide shot, as a viewer I tend to look at the environs and their surroundings. Ota City in this case is part of the Tokyo Metropolitan area but is more of the suburbs. It’s a city that has a small town feel. While having a commercial district it has a lot of tree lined streets. It doesn’t have the tower or skyscrapers dominating the Tokyo skyline. The electric cable car or tram figures in the story early. Which is actually a common mode of transport throughout Japan.

Ota City incidentally is home to CANON and ANA Airlines among other large corporations.

Ota City; Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Hiroki allows us to see all this, where the characters literal place is on the screen ergo the location. I don’t know if Ota is the same location in the manga or was specified. But even Ota Shingako High School figured prominently. This is where Kako, goes to school and a lot of the scenes take place. The school boasts of an expansive campus and probably the biggest brass band I’ve ever seen.

Ota Shingaku High school Brass Band; Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Whether it’s the movie POLICEMAN AND ME or from the enduring success of the P to JK manga, the bottom line is, to cherish love at any age.

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Daigo Nishihata (Jiro); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Tao Tsuchiya (Kako); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

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Ota City; Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Tao Tsuchiya (Kako); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

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Ota City; Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Tao Tsuchiya (Kako); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

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Tao Tsuchiya (Kako); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Tao Tsuchiya (Kako); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

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Tao Tsuchiya (Kako) and Kazuya Kamenashi (Kota); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

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Revealing the PHANTOM THREAD

Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.

Deep Kiss, you are my Alma.

Written by

Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista

Reynolds (Daniel Day Lewis): Why do I feel as if I’ve been looking for you for a very long time? Alma (Vicky Krieps): And now you’ve found me.

CUT TO an interview Alma (Vicky Krieps): I never really liked myself. I thought my shoulders were too wide, my neck was skinny like a bird and I had no breasts. I thought my hips were larger than needed, my arms strong. But in his work I become perfect and I feel just right. Maybe that’s how all women feel in his clothes.

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma). Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

PHANTOM THREAD was able to fool me more than once. As I started watching I had the distinct impression, it was a biopic of some sort, a docudrama on a real life legendary designer from the 1950s whose clients include royalty and Hollywood stars. After some cursory research, it was astonishing that it was all a work of fiction from the fertile mind of writer director Paul Thomas Anderson. It truly is from Anderson’s seed of genius that the film has sprung forth and inspired others. The recent awards season bears this out.

Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

PHANTOM THREAD won an Oscar for Best Costume Design (Mark Bridges) andNominated in 6 Oscar categories: Best Actor (Daniel Day Lewis), Best Supporting Actress (Lesley Manville), Best Original Score (Johnny Greenwood), Best Direction (Paul Thomas Anderson) and Best Picture.

Both the Golden Globes and BAFTA also nominated Lewis for Best Actor. If it weren’t for Gary Oldman’s masterful performance in THE DARKEST HOUR, Lewis may have earned a fourth Oscar for this film.

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

BAFTA also awarded Mark Bridges Best Costume. Critic’s Associations and technical guilds in the United States and U.K. have either nominated or given awards to PHANTOM THREAD. The Boston Society of Film Critics for example has given it the Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Score.

Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Paul Thomas Anderson – PTA

Not only is Paul Thomas Anderson (PTA for short) credited as Writer, Director, he’s also Director of Photography / Cinematographer and Producer. On the youtube video of test shots he talks about the classic lenses from the era that he wanted to use to recreate that 50s look. Among them are classic lenses 85mm Jena 2.8, 55mm Nikon 2.8 before finally settling on the 50mm Jena 2.8 from Zeiss.

Writer Director Producer Paul Thomas Anderson; Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

He was also very particular about the film stock they used and tested quite a few along with different lenses to get the exact look and feel they wanted. I wondered if it was possible to shoot it digitally and recreate the look he desired in post, as a more cost effective solution. But he may have wanted ‘the look’ in camera as they say. And it is difficult to question success.

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma). Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

He did however admit his reliance on his cameramen and gaffers because of his lack of technical knowledge. Hence, Colin Anderson was nominated for the Camera Operator of the Year Award from the Society of Camera Operators.

PTA was already critically acclaimed for BOOGIE NIGHTS (1997), PUNCH DRUNK LOVE- with Adam Sandler (2002) and INHERENT VICE (2014). But it was his work THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007) that gave him the most Oscar nominations and a Best Actor win for Daniel.

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Director Paul Thomas Anderson. Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

Maya Rudolph & Other Inspirations

Anderson has a long time relationship with SNL legend Maya Rudolph, going 17 years with four kids. One of the tender moments when Paul had flu and Maya was nursing him back to health. She gave him a facial expression that made him realize that she ‘had not looked at him with such tenderness and love in a long time’.

Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Another flash of inspiration is from friend and musical director Jonny Greenwood who complained of how long he took to get dressed: ‘You’re like Beau Brummel!’ Brummel was a fashion icon in the 19th century, ‘(who) claimed that he took five hours a day to dress and recommended that boots be polished with champagne. This preoccupation with dress, coupled with a nonchalant display of wit, was referred to as dandyism.’ [From https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Beau_Brummell] Cristobal Balenciaga and his ‘monastic life’ was also an inspiration for the main character.

Prior to PTA’s relationship with Rudolph, his previous long-term lover was Fiona Apple. He continues to direct music videos for Fiona and RADIOHEAD, of which Johnny Greenwood is a member.

2nd from left Johnny Greenwood of RADIOHEAD composed the haunting soundtrack for PHANTOM THREAD.

Reynolds

Anderson was able to create a character that was very much believable and at the same time delve into that personal fantasy or make believe, that makes a person a central figure of a story. So he seemed like a real person, in this magnificently crafted film. The central character is himself a brilliant mind with a host of quirks that no writer or director could imagine. For example he’s rail thin but has a voracious appetite. And has extremely specific preferences or requirements to how his food is prepared.

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.

Daniel Day Lewis was able to shape the role in more ways than just his performance. PTA credits him as co writer. The first name Reynolds is from the youth of Day-Lewis. Reynolds Stone is a renowned wood engraver in the U.K. who influenced him. “Reynolds Stone was quite an important figure in the life of my family. He was probably the greatest living wood engraver in this country, in his lifetime. We spent some Christmases in his house in Dorset as a child. The Stone family were figures in our lives.” The last name Woodcock arose from Daniel’s joke to Anderson who broke down laughing. That assured the fact it was going to be used. From: youtube vid: Cast Q & A.

Title uses font designed by renowned English wood engraver Reynolds Stone. Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.

Research and Casting

Day Lewis again tirelessly researched his role. He consulted with the curator of fashion and textiles at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and apprenticed under Marc Happel, head of the costume department at the New York City Ballet.

House of Woodcock staff were either dressmakers or costume designers in real life. Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.

The Victoria and Albert Museum’s Historic Clothing Archive also yielded some fortunate encounters. When Anderson and Costume Designer Mark Bridges were there they bumped into retired dressmakers Joan Brown and Sue Clark. They were given the roles of Biddy and Nana respectively. The seamstresses roles were also given to ‘Amber Brabant and Geneva Corlett are professional film costumers. Georgia Kemball is a textile designer’. From: [official imdb page]

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma).Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.Photo from Official facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Alma

PHANTOM THREAD is the film that people will look back on as the breakthrough role for Vicky Krieps (Alma). This is when the world was introduced to the talent and magnetism of a young actress from Luxembourg. She has the perfect cover of innocence and weakness when she is anything but. Underneath that childlike smile hides a mentally strong and willful woman who changes Reynolds life.

Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.

Before meeting Alma, Reynolds would easily charm young ladies; sweep them off their feet. But it was only a question of when he’d tire of and eventually replace them. She’s a combination of tenderness and strength that Reynolds never encountered before.

Krieps’ natural Luxembourg accent was perfect for the role, “She was always an immigrant. Let her accent do the work. You just need to get the sense she was from somewhere different, preferably Eastern Europe,” said Anderson.

Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

She has been cast in THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB with Sylvia Hoeks the latest sequel from THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO franchise. Vicky is also currently shooting LYREBIRD a drama with Guy Pearce.

Lesley Manville

Lesley Manville on the other hand has been around the block: MALEFICENT (2014) ANOTHER YEAR (2010). Nominated as Best Supporting actress at the Oscars and BAFTA. But also won the trophy from AARP, London Critic’s Circle Film Awards and International Cinephile Society Awards: PHANTOM THREAD (2017 Best Supporting Actress) and ANOTHER YEAR (2011 Best Actress).

Lesley Manville (Cyril); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

She won the 2014 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress for her performance as Helene Alving in Richard Eyre’s revival of GHOSTS. She was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her services to Drama.

Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

Manville has recently been cast in DALI LAND, NORMAL PEOPLE and the much-anticipated sequel MALEFICENT 2 with Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Michelle Pfeiffer and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

In an interview with People TV, Lesley had a great insight about this film, “Even if I hadn’t been cast its up there in one of my favorite films of all time. Its really wonderful the way it puts the microscope in what we want to sort out; how to be yourself, how to love, how to be a full and proper person, for some of us in the creative industry, how to marry that with creativity.” Gary Oldman, this year’s Best Actor winner, is incidentally Manville’s ex-husband and had her only child with him: Alfie Oldman. She now has 2 grandchildren Matilda and Ozzy.

Lesley Manville (Cyril); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

Cyril

Lesley plays Reynolds’ ever-present sibling Cyril. She is the agent / manager / second in command in the House of Woodcock. He affectionately calls her ‘My Old So and So’. Usually she knows what he needs and wants before he asks for it. In front of clients, she’d never question him. But in private she would never take sh** from him. It’s true as stated in other reviews, while Reynolds is the creative genius it’s these two women who truly rules his life.

Lesley Manville clip

Film influences

As brilliant as Anderson is, he was very modest in acknowledging his influences in terms of movies, “Stolen, that would be the word for it. We watched PASSIONATE FRIENDS (1949) six times; we keep coming back to it over and over again. I don’t know why no one’s talking about it. The other one is I KNOW WHERE I’M GOING (1945) a great Powell – Pressburger movie. A lot of the Powell Pressburger movies including the RED SHOES. BRIEF ENCOUNTER, I watched again as a refresher. REBECCA, VERTIGO and SUSPICION with John Fontaine.“

Center: Vinyl cover of official soundtrack album by Johnny Greenwood of RADIOHEAD. Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Because of the era, the film has been compared to Alfred Hitchcock who directed VERTIGO. The story / romance also parallels with PASSIONATE FRIENDS, I KNOW WHERE I’M GOING even with the setting (U.K.). Writing and directing duo Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger used color and music effectively to tell their stories. THE RED SHOES also from Powell Pressburger was a required viewing for DLSU Communication Arts majors (a long while ago) under Dr. Mike Rapatan.

On PHANTOM THREAD’s last shooting day April 26, 2017, was the same date that director Jonathan Demme (SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, PHILADELPHIA) passed away. Anderson considers Demme a friend and mentor and has dedicated the film to him.

What is the Phantom Thread?

This was one of the moments in the film that convinced me that Reynolds was a real person, made him more human. He creates secret pockets in the linings of his jacket, or clothes in general that contain mementos, that are important to him. He keeps a lock of his mother’s hair in one because she taught him to sew and make dresses – his craft. Sometimes it’s a label with the name of a loved one. Only he knows its there. That’s how he literally keeps the people who matter close to his heart.

Alma: Reynolds has made my dreams come true. And I have given him what he desires most in return.

Dr. Robert Hardy (Brian Gleeson): And what’s that?

Alma: Every piece of me.

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma). Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

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Mark Bridges won an Oscar and BAFTA award for Best Costume. Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

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Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

flickr:

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Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

Mark Bridges won an Oscar and BAFTA award for Best Costume. Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma). Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

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Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.

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seated center from left: Costume designer Mark Bridges, Director Paul Thomas Anderson and Vicky Krieps (Alma). Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma).Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.Photo from Official facebook page:
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Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

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Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Lesley Manville (Cyril); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

flickr:

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Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

from left: Lesley Manville (Cyril), Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) andVicky Krieps (Alma).Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma). Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.

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House of Woodcock staff were either dressmakers or costume designers in real life. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma). Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

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Lesley Manville (Cyril); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

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Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma). Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

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Rock N Rawr for Levi!

TANYA MARKOVA lead vocalist Norma Love; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Written and photographed

By Jude Bautista

Last March 23, 2018 – ROCK N RAWR was held at DULO MNL, a bar in Poblacion Makati. It was a fund raising effort for Levi Abundo who was born prematurely (only 6 months in utero).

Because of Levi’s fragile state he was required to stay in the N.I.C.U. (neonatal intensive care unit). The medical bill from the NICU station alone comes to a total of 4.2 million pesos. Added to this there are other procedures he needs.

Since Levi was not able to develop fully through a shortened pregnancy (6 months), this also required surgeries to help him survive. For more details on Levi’s story click here.

The fruits of your generosity allowed Levi to go home and graduate from N.I.C.U! Help him raise money he still needs for hospital bills. Photo from Landa’s facebook.

Bands such as TANYA MARKOVA, MOJO FLY, HINLALATO extended their support for Levi.

FULL LIST of performers:

Spoken Word Poetry from:

Kooky Tuason, Marty Tengco, Jing Reyna Jorge, The Makatas

Music Performance by:

Tanya Markova, Mojofly, Hinlalato, Lunch Poems,

Undecided, The Morning Episodes

and DJ Mike Lavarez

UNDECIDED; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Getting the Bands Together

After Levi’s parents’ Luis and Landa Abundo decided to have a fund raising involving bands, there was one friend they had in mind. Clang Santos, vocalist of HINLALATO was a close family friend since their high school days. He’s a batch mate and old friend of Landa’s brother Michael. There was no hesitation on Clang’s part in in volunteering his own band. But then he thought of recruiting TANYA MARKOVA.

Luis and Landa Abundo with friends who helped raise funds for Levi. Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

A chance meeting at CLUB DREDD in Eastwood City Mall back in 2010 would prove to be providential, “TANYA MARKOVA, I just suggested the band because they’re a fun act. We used to play 2010 in CLUB DREDD in Eastwood Mall, the second iteration of CLUB DREDD. We met there, really funny guys. They launched a single and all that. We’ve been in communication ever since. I’m really glad they were able to join this project.“

TANYA MARKOVA from left: Rez Curtis (Guitars), Iwa Motors (Vocals) and Isabel Ole (Lead Guitars). Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Clang’s relationship with Landa’s family runs deep, “Michael Bautista (Landa’s brother), we call him Bong. We’ve been friends since 1987, grade school. We became closer when we got into high school. We became close with the whole Bautista family. When their dad, Tito Mike called of Ate Landa. He told me, ‘your sister Ate Landa has a little bit of trouble maybe you can help out’. We immediately said yes. We want to be part of the project and they consulted me with what they could possibly do. Maybe we can do this and do that. I helped a little bit but its all them. I’m really really happy to be part of this project. I hope this is the first of many.’

Yabang Pinoy volunteer Fort Faronilo hugs vocalist Clang Santos of HINLALATO. Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Young Parents

A number of the band members they recruited were also young parents. Clang said they could easily relate to the struggles that Luis and Landa are going through.

“Lugi of MOJOFLY is a good friend. I knew that Lugi is not only a female vocalist but she’s also a new mom. I’m pretty sure she could relate. I messaged Lugi and she immediately said yes. She wanted to be part of the project.”

Luis and Landa Abundo with friends who helped raise funds for Levi. Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

HINLALATO

HINLALATO- is the Filipino word for middle finger. The irreverence, rebellion even the humorous nature of the gesture represents what the band stands for. Clang goes on, “We got a gig in Quezon City. We were thinking of a name but wanted it to be very Pinoy Rock. We wanted it to be very representative of what we play and who we are.

from left: HINLALATO bassist Bass Godwin Salazar, Guitarist Luden Salazar and vocalist Clang Santos; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Our bassist (Godwin Samar) had this idea why not HINLALATO? What does that mean? It’s the middle finger. Its in your face, straight forward. It could mean a lot of things. It could make fun of other people, in jest. That’s what it meant for us, about being Pinoy and being kick ass, in your face.”

HINLALATO Guitarist Jon Salazar; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

HINLALATO band Members include: Luden Salazar (Guitar), Jon Salazar(Guitar), Aldwin Alberto (Drums), Godwin Samar (Bass) and Clang Santos (Vocals). These guys have been together for a decade and they gel like it too.

What keeps them together is their love for the same kind of music. Clang enumerates, “All of us are heavily influenced by 70s and 80s hard rock and Pinoy bands. All of us love RAZORBACK, WOLFGANG, JUAN DELACRUZ, MARIA KAFRA, THE DAWN.”

HINLALATO; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Classic Rock

Their music is a journey into the very best of classic rock. It’s varied coming from the 60’s all the way to the 90s. They kicked off with Led Zeppelin’s IMMIGRANT SONG, that became the soundtrack of THOR RAGNAROK.

It was followed by WALANG TIGIL ANG ALON, “an original we wrote back in 2011 about unconditional love. Our 3rd song glam rock inspired AMELIE. We played 2 classic rock songs one from Lenny Kravitz’ ARE YOU GONNA GO MY WAY? followed by Black Crowe’s HARD TO HANDLE, then Beatles COME TOGETHER, more Aerosmith’s version. Last song was our first single FILI about Pinoy pride, love of country.”

HINLALATO drummer Aldwin Alberto; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

EP for Levi

FILI hit the rock notes but wasn’t a hard sell in the lyrics, the kind of music that can inspire. That night the band dedicated sales of their EP for Levi, “Our EP is out – HINLALATO X, you can find all our songs on spotify, itunes, deezer, google play and Apple music. You’ll find all our 3 songs there. you can stream them for free. You can also find the music video for our single FILI on YouTube. You can also find us on facebook, instagram and twitter: HINLALATO MUSIC. We post all our schedules there our photos and all that. We’re going to have a bar tour in Cebu, Davao and Baguio.”

THE MORNING EPISODES’ Miguel Escueta. Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

THE MORNING EPISODES

Miguel Escueta of THE MORNING EPISODES was there to represent the band and play an acoustic version of the collaborations with international artists: UNTIL THE SUNRISE (with Sullen H) and FALLS INTO THIS (with Curtis Smith).

LUNCH POEMS; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

TANYA MARKOVA

This quirky, theatric band has been capturing the hearts of music fans for quite a while now. I first photographed them (also in Eastwood Mall) during a larger more grand album launch in 2012_? Not a lot of people know they’re multi-awarded too:

NU Rock Awards – Best New Artist (2010), Best Music Video – DISNEY (2010), Best Live Act (2010), Myx Music Awards – Favorite New Artist (2011), DWRX Monster Radio RX 93.1 – OPM Band of the Year (2010), New Artist of the Year (2010).

TANYA MARKOVA; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

The band is composed of members with interesting pseudonyms: Iwa Motors (Vocals), Isabel Ole (Lead Guitars), Skrovak Iskopanjo (Bass), Norma Love (Vocals), Mow Mow (Tambourine), Robot Jaworski (Keyboards), Levy Poe (Drums), Rez Curtis (Guitars).

TANYA MARKOVA closed the show for Little Levi that night in DULO MNL. They performed their hits PICTURE PICTURE, LINDA BLAIR, HIGH END, JACUZZI, KUNWARI and DISNEY.

TANYA MARKOVA from left: Mow Mow (Tambourine) and Isabel Ole (Lead Guitars). Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

They also let Mow mow loose giving him the chance to sing Bruno Mars’ VERSACE ON THE FLOOR. According to him it was a favorite of his grandma. While not vocally perfect he was nevertheless able to win over the crowd.

As a testament to Levi’s courage in fighting for his place in the world, he has already gotten better. But a lot still remains to be done for his full healing. Mom Landa however was able to share an inspiring update last August 5, 2018 from this facebook post:

Hi, everyone! I got my dose of Vitamin D early this morning. I didn’t really enjoy it at first but I eventually got cozy in Mommy’s arms while Daddy entertained me.

How about you? What are you up to this Sunday? Hope you’re all enjoying quality time with family and loved ones!

The fruits of your generosity allowed Levi to go home and graduate from N.I.C.U! Help him raise money he still needs for hospital bills. Photo from Landa’s facebook.

In case you’re wondering what the line near the edge of my diaper is… That’s one of my surgery scars peeking. It’s quite long for my tiny tummy! Battle scars remind us how strong we are to have gone through trials. They’re beautiful that way, don’t you think?

Happy Sunday to one and all! Remember, God is great!!!

Please click our Highlights up top or visit https://www.facebook.com/LeviLittleLionheart/ to find out the different ways you can still share to my NICU Bill and medical needs. May God bless you always! 🙏🏻

Luis and Landa Abundo with friends who helped raise funds for Levi. Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

#LeviLittleLionheart #26weeker #prematurebaby #preemie #preemieawareness #preemiestrong #preemiesupport #preemiepower #preemiehope #ourlittlepreemie #NICUgrad #NICUgraduate #lifeafterNICUlife #NICUawareness #preemiemom #preemiedad #preemieparents #littlewarrior #littlemiracle #fundraising #donation #pleasehelp #helpneeded #keepthefaith #vitaminD #sunbathing101 #babysurgery #strong #scars #battlescars

UNDECIDED; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

LUNCH POEMS; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Levi Little Lionheart

Fb

https://www.facebook.com/LeviLittleLionheart/

gofundme

http://www.gofundme.com/levilittlelionheart

youcaring

https://www.youcaring.com/leviabundo-1091515

HINLALATO Guitarist Luden Salazar; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

HINLALATO; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

TANYA MARKOVA and HINLALATO; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Levi Little Lionheart

Fb

https://www.facebook.com/LeviLittleLionheart/

gofundme

http://www.gofundme.com/levilittlelionheart

youcaring

https://www.youcaring.com/leviabundo-1091515

HINLALATO vocalist Clang Santos & Guitarist Jon Salazar; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Levi Little Lionheart

Fb

https://www.facebook.com/LeviLittleLionheart/

gofundme

http://www.gofundme.com/levilittlelionheart

youcaring

https://www.youcaring.com/leviabundo-1091515

from left: TANYA MARKOVA Skrovak Iskopanjo (Bass), Iwa Motors (Vocals) and Rez Curtis (Guitars). Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Luis and Landa Abundo with friends who helped raise funds for Levi. Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

from left: TANYA MARKOVA Robot Jaworski (Keyboards), and Skrovak Iskopanjo (Bass). Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Levi Little Lionheart

Fb

https://www.facebook.com/LeviLittleLionheart/

gofundme

http://www.gofundme.com/levilittlelionheart

youcaring

https://www.youcaring.com/leviabundo-1091515

from left: TANYA MARKOVA Skrovak Iskopanjo (Bass), Iwa Motors (Vocals) and Rez Curtis (Guitars). Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Spoken Word Poetry from:

Kooky Tuason, Marty Tengco, Jing Reyna Jorge, The Makatas

Music Performance by:

Tanya Markova, Mojofly, Hinlalato, Lunch Poems,

Undecided, The Morning Episodes

and DJ Mike Lavarez

LUNCH POEMS; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

LUNCH POEMS; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista


Songs For Levi

 TANYA MARKOVA; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Written and photographed

By Jude Bautista

Luis RobertoAbundo and Landa Bautista Abundo, are a couple who give a lot of themselves to community, their country and others. Having been an instructor of special needs children for more than 10 years, Landa is now the Executive Director of The Learning Center Philippines.

She has also been a long time volunteer and organizer in YABANG PINOY, an organization that aims to instill pride in Filipino made products and services through various means and campaigns.

So when the kind couple met the biggest challenge of their lives, its no surprise that friends and family, organizations have all come together to help them in their time of need.

Luis and Landa Abundo; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

January 28, 2018, Landa had to deliver their first-born baby boy, Levi via emergency C-section at only 925 grams. He was born with only 6 months in utero. Landa relates, “We had to deliver him because of uncontrolled pre term labor. He was also in a breach position his hand was in my cervix by the time I was rushed to the hospital.”

NICU

The condition Levi was born with presented a number of difficulties for the young couple, not least of which is the enormous expense of the extra care that’s necessary, Luis explains, “So now because of his extreme prematurity and extremely low birth weight doctors advised us he has to stay in the N.I.C.U. (neonatal intensive care unit). For around 3-4 months. Which roughly equates to around 4.2 million pesos. It’s insanely high and insurance doesn’t begin to cover anything related to pregnancy.  But that’s the reality of Philippine health insurance.”

Surgeries

Added to the cost of the stay in the N.I.C.U. (neonatal intensive care unit), there are other procedures he needs. Since Levi was not able to develop fully through Landa’sshortened pregnancy (6 months), this also required surgeries to help him survive.

Luis and LandaAbundo with family, friends and volunteers. Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

“We’re rallying family and friends to raise funds for him. He’s had to undergo a lot of difficulties and struggles during his young tender age. He had to have a surgery at 3 weeks old because he had a perforated intestine. Even after we’re discharged from NICU we still have to prepare for surgery to put back his ilium so he can have a normal life. We’re a middle class family its really weird how difficult it is to ask for government support. Its really sarilingkayod. We really had to work to get funds for him. We’ve had help from family and friends and Good Samaritans, kind strangers. We need more. We need help to spread the word. We really need it to snowball so we can reach more people,” said Landa.

How to Help — Links

For readers who would like to extend help search for: Levi Little Lionheart onfacebook, instagram(or just click on the links provided here)and crowd funding platforms on gofundme, youcaring. This is for international donors. For those in the Philippines it may be more convenient to donate directly to BDO, BPI bank account numbershere:

Fb

https://www.facebook.com/LeviLittleLionheart/

gofundme

http://www.gofundme.com/levilittlelionheart

youcaring

https://www.youcaring.com/leviabundo-1091515

They’ve received donations from friends, family, from kind strangers, “Of course we still need more we haven’t really tipped the scale in terms of the 4.2 million pesos we need. We haven’t reached 1 million even. And our bill now is already 1.5 million already.”

Rock N Rawr

YABANG PINOY volunteers rallied behind one of their long time organizers in Landa. Logically their solution was connected to Pinoy Pride namely OPM (Original Pilipino Music). Last March 23, 2018, the fund raising concert for Levi called Rock N Rawr was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati who gave their venue for free.

HINLALATO; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Landa recalls, “YabangPinoy started the ball rolling. They said we wanted to set up this event the volunteers of course. They were responsible for getting us the event place. DULO gave us the event place for free. Our brother is a member of the band, connected us to another band. So its people connecting with people, you realize a deeper connection. A lot of them can relate with what happened to us and what we’re going through.”

TANYA MARKOVA vocalist Iwa Motors; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

HINLALATO, TANYA MARKOVA, MOJOFLY

Landa’s younger brother Michael ‘Bong’ Bautista contacted old schoolmates from Don Bosco who just happened to be HINALALATO vocalist Clang Santos. Because of his closeness to the Bautista clan, he was able to refer and recruit other name bands to join the successful event among them TANYA MARKOVA, MOJOFLY. This resulted in a cascade of other performers joining in.

Michael Bautista hugs vocalist Clang Santos of HINLALATO. Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

The couple was so happy and grateful with the support, “Its through the help of family and friends who connected us with all these different performers and talents: UNDECIDED, LUNCH POEMS, THE MAKATAS. There are people we’ve known for a long time who really want to show their love and support for our family. We’re really very thankful for their support DJ Mike Lavarez who is here and opened the whole evening for us.”

LUNCH POEMS with Luis and LandaAbundo. Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Levi

At such a young age Levi is already showing his courage and will to live, “So its crazy, but what we love about our son is he’s a fighter. He’s gone through so much and we see him improve everyday. We see he’s fighting to survive. We need to do this, we need to give him that chance, a fighting chance to survive because he’s doing his part.

UNDECIDED; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

FULL LIST of performers:

Spoken Word Poetry from:

Kooky Tuason, Marty Tengco, Jing Reyna Jorge, The Makatas

Music Performance by:

Tanya Markova, Mojofly, Hinlalato, Lunch Poems,

Undecided, The Morning Episodes

and DJ Mike Lavarez

THE MORNING EPISODES’ Miguel Escueta. Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

As a testament to Levi’s courage in fighting for his place in the world, he has already gotten better. But a lot still remains to be done for his full healing. Mom Landa however was able to share an inspiring update last July 7, 2018 from this facebook post:

Hi, everyone! How are all of you? I’ve been adjusting to home life since graduating from the NICU. Mommy & Daddy have been adapting, too. Hello, sleepless nights!!! Hehe.

The fruits of your generosity allowed Levi to go home and graduate from N.I.C.U! He still needs our help through several procedures. Photo from Landa’s facebook.

We had a full day at the hospital a few days ago as we visited 3 of my doctors for a follow up. I also underwent a Cranial Ultrasound to check the Bilateral Periventricular Cyst my Doc saw in my brain when I was only a few days old. My Sonologist, DrBlaise Liao, said that it looks like my brain lesion has resolved itself. Thank you, God!!! We’re still waiting for official results but please help us pray everything’s clear.

My Ophthalmologist, Dr Santiago Sibayan, checked the status of my Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP). I just had my eyes checked in this photo that’s why it’s a bit swollen & covered with ointment. ROP is an eye problem which occurs in some premature babies. Fortunately, I was diagnosed with only Stage 1 ROP when I was a few weeks old. Doc said it may resolve itself in time. He noted some scarring on my right eye which needs to be monitored every few weeks. Please help us pray my ROP resolves itself soon, too.

Luis and Landa Abundo with supportive friends. Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

My Surgeon, Dr Lester Suntay, said my surgery wound is healing well. He told us that he was surprised with how well my intestines were during surgery! He did not observe expected adhesions or strictures despite my bad condition during my 1st surgery. He called it divine intervention! We agree! Praise God for all His miracles!!!

My Gastroenterologist-Pedia, Dr Karen Calixto-Mercado, wants us to focus on my weight gain. We’ve got lots of catching up to do. My tummy has been acting up as a reaction to the oral antibiotics I was asked to take upon discharge. So I’ve been very gassy & have been struggling with feeding time at home.  I know Mom & Dad are stressed about this but hopefully the Probiotics I’ve been given helps my tummy problems.

TANYA MARKOVA guitarist Isabel Ole; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Overall, it was a good day! Mom & Dad are happy with my doctors’ feedback. Me? I enjoyed the car ride! Thank you to Tita Catherine Barua for sharing Cairo’s baby carrier with me. It’s so comfy! Thank you Tita @hurricaneagnes&Tita @mikagami1921 for my soft swaddles! We appreciate your gifts!

Please continue to include me in your prayers. Please visit https://www.facebook.com/LeviLittleLionheart/ to find out the different ways you can still share to my NICU Fund. God bless you always!

Luis and LandaAbundo with family, friends and volunteers. Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

#LeviLittleLionheart #26weeker #prematurebaby #preemie #preemieawareness #preemiestrong #preemiesupport #preemiepower #preemiehope #ourlittlepreemie #NICUgrad #NICUgraduate #lifeafterNICUlife #preemiemom #preemiedad #preemieparents #littlewarrior #littlemiracle #fundraising #donation #pleasehelp #helpneeded #keepthefaith #prayerrequest #doctorsvisit #retinopathyofprematurity #rop #realtalk #generosity #kindness — with Luis Roberto and Landa A. Bautista-Abundo.

UNDECIDED; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Levi Little Lionheart

Fb

https://www.facebook.com/LeviLittleLionheart/

gofundme

http://www.gofundme.com/levilittlelionheart

youcaring

https://www.youcaring.com/leviabundo-1091515

HINLALATO with Luis and Landa Abundo. Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

from left: Iwa Motors of TANYA MARKOVA and Clang Santos of HINLALATO. Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Levi Little Lionheart

Fb

https://www.facebook.com/LeviLittleLionheart/

gofundme

http://www.gofundme.com/levilittlelionheart

youcaring

https://www.youcaring.com/leviabundo-1091515

LUNCH POEMS; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Levi Little Lionheart

Fb

https://www.facebook.com/LeviLittleLionheart/

gofundme

http://www.gofundme.com/levilittlelionheart

youcaring

https://www.youcaring.com/leviabundo-1091515

TANYA MARKOVA Tambourine Mow mow; Rock N Rawr a fundraising for Levi Abundo was held at DULO MNL a bar in Poblacion Makati last March 23, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Spoken Word Poetry from:

Kooky Tuason, Marty Tengco, Jing Reyna Jorge, The Makatas

Music Performance by:

Tanya Markova, Mojofly, Hinlalato, Lunch Poems,

Undecided, The Morning Episodes

and DJ Mike Lavarez


Chinese Otaku in OUR SHINING DAYS

from left: Lu Zhaohua as Bei bei– instrument Ruan (moon shaped lute), Xu Lu as Chen Jing instrument Yang-qin (Chinese Dulcimer) and Han Zhongyu as Tata -instrument Pipa (pear shaped four stringed lute). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018

Delicate, your voice is my music.

Written by

Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista

Chen Jing (Xu Lu) pauses by the dreaded door of dorm room 502 and sees the sign: HUMANS STAY OUT. She knocks on the door and introduces herself, no one answers. A string curtain made of pink stars and plastic beads rattle to announce her presence. On a top bunk bed, someone whose face is hidden under a blue hoodie glares at her and immediately texts on her smartphone “Don’t speak to me!” and shows the screen. Chen tries to explain why she’s there. Just then she sees two girls hunched over two laptops playing a game. One has blonde hair the other blue. One of them says, “That’s Sakura, she doesn’t speak. I’m Bei bei and this is Tata.” Chen tries to explain her need to form a band. A hand from a dark curtain grabs Chen’s flyer and a threatening voice, “Do you want to exit through the door or the window?”

Li Nuo as Sakura – instrument Er-hu (two stringed fiddle); Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

You can watch OUR SHINING DAYS and many other award winning Chinese films for free on a first come first served basis. OUR SHINING DAYS is part of the Spring Film Festival organized by the Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies from February 13-18, 2018 at the Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City.

Apart from the film festival there are a number of activities celebrating Chinese New Year that are open to the public and are free (also on a first come first served basis). This year the Chinese Painting Exhibit is at the Grand Atrium. On February 25, the Philippine Ling Nam Athletic Federation will hold an exciting and elaborate lion dance exhibition in the same venue. The Oodles of Noodles food fest will run from February 16 – 28, featuring special noodle dishes with special discounts from participating restaurants.

from right: FDCP Festival Dev. Lead Officer Jo Andrew Torlao, Dr. Rosita Leong, Ricardo Dy Leong co founders of the Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies, ADMU Pres. Fr. Jett Villarin, Shangri La Plaza EVP & Gen Mgr Lala Fojas Ricardo Leong Center Board Member Myrna Yao and Flexo Manufacturing Director Pet Bautista. Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

OUR SHINING DAYS celebrates Chinese traditional music injected with young cosplay inventiveness. Lesser-known aspects of ancient Chinese history, culture and traditional music are highlighted, while the struggles of this generation are dealt with. This gives viewers the best of both worlds. It’s for anyone or any group who has felt the need for acceptance.

300 Lanterns glowed for the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall. Catch free Chinese movies and other free activities as part of the Chinese New Year Celebration this month of Februrary. Photo by Jude Bautista

PRINCESS JELLYFISH influence

OUR SHINING DAYS is an unlikely combination of the Japanese hit movie PRINCESS JELLYFISH and AMERCAN PIE, PITCH PERFECT with shades of GLEE. PRINCESS JELLYFISH is a successful Japanese manga (comic serial) that was so popular it was turned into an animated series that was then turned into a feature film. Its about a group of reclusive women trying to save the house they live in. They fall into a broad category called Otaku roughly translated to nerd or geek. What used to be a derogatory term is now more acceptable.

In China, at least according to this movie, they use the acronym ACG: Anime, Comics and games. These are some of the interests that are related to Otaku, but can be wider, interests can be photography, cars, hence the term, movie geek etc. The movie itself is live action and is combined with animated portions just like PRINCESS JELLYFISH. The connection with AMERICAN PIE is the term ‘band geek’ while the competitive side of music is from PITCH PERFECT or GLEE.

3rd and 4th from left: Shang Plaza Mall GM & EVP Lala Fojas and Ricardo Leong Center Spring Film Festival Director Jubilee Ong with Chinese Opera – Kaoka performers from Ateneo De Manila University faculty and students during the opening of the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, February 13, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Kim Chiu and Enchong Dee

The main character here is Chen Jing played by Xu Lu. She looks like a nerdy version of Filipina actress Kim Chiu on a consistently bad hair day (at least for this role). There are a number of Filipino actors of Chinese descent like Kim Chiu and Enchong Dee who are very popular. I’ve compared a number of Chinese mainland actresses to Kim Chiu because she has those almond eyes, soft jawline, dainty lips that are attractive Asian features.

Kim Chiu and Enchong Dee are popular Filipino Stars of Chinese descent. Photos from: https://www.facebook.com/KimChiufnpage/ and https://www.facebook.com/DeeEnchong/

The Goal

Chen Jing falls for Wang Wen (Luo Mingjie) a classical piano prodigy, the star of the Zhong Xian Music Academy who already draws fans through concerts as a junior. Chen Jing excitedly volunteered as his page-turner (one who turns the pages for the sheet music during performance).

from right: Xu Lu as Chen Jing instrument Yang-qin (Chinese Dulcimer) and Luo Mingjie as Wang Wen. Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

After the concert was over she tells him how she truly feels. “I like you. I play the Yang-qin (Chinese Dulcimer).” A visibly irritated Wang Wen replies, “I have no time for anything else other than my music. The Yang-qin, what is that??? Is that even a real instrument?”

Luo Mingjie as Wang Wen; Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

So Chen Jing together with best pal, the klutzy, Li You (Peng Yuchang), set out to show her prowess in the instrument Wang knows nothing about. The goal is to make him fall in love with her through her music. To do this they need a band of several traditional Chinese instruments to back her up. The problem is their genré is no longer as popular. The only remaining students left to recruit are a group of reclusive freshmen who are into ACG and are considered Otaku.

from left: Li Nuo as Sakura – instrument Er-hu (two stringed fiddle), Liu Yongxi as Xiao Mai instrument Guzheng (Chinese zither with movable bridges), Han Zhongyu as Tata -instrument Pipa (pear shaped four stringed lute),
Peng Yuchang as Li You – (drums), Lu Zhaohua as Bei bei– instrument Ruan (moon shaped lute) and Xu Lu as Chen Jing instrument Yang-qin (Chinese Dulcimer). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Instruments

The musical instruments are part and parcel of who they are and why they play them.   The leader of the newly formed traditional Chinese music band called 2.5 Dimension is Xiao Mai acted by Liu Yongxi who is tall, cropped hair, wearing dark robes.

Liu Yongxi as Xiao Mai instrument Guzheng (Chinese zither with movable bridges). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Her instrument: the Gu Zheng, is the Chinese zither with movable bridges, and is plucked using fingers. The Gu Zheng has also figured prominently in KUNG FU HUSTLE. It was used by one of the assassins to fire invisible blades and needles while he played it.

A Lucky Pagoda was constructed at the ground floor of Shang Plaza Mall, where you can read your Chinese Horoscope prospects in this year of the Dog at the foot of the tower. Photo by Jude Bautista

Lead star Xu Lu as Chen Jing uses the Yang-qin (Chinese Dulcimer), which is also a stringed instrument but is struck with two sticks made of bamboo. The sound is in between a piano and a harp.

Xu Lu as Chen Jing instrument Yang-qin (Chinese Dulcimer). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Indication of changing times

The storyline of the movie is also a good indication of how things are changing in China. For the longest time there has always been a strong anti-Japanese sentiment there because of atrocities committed during the Second World War. As late as 2005 when Hollywood produced MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA with Chinese superstar Zhang Zhi Yi, it was met with an uproar of protests and criticism. The public then didn’t want to see a Chinese actress portray a Japanese geisha.

from left: ADMU VP for Univ.& Global Relations Fr. Joey Cruz, ADMU Pres. Fr. Jett Villarin, Ricardo Dy Leong, Dr. Rosita Leong co founders of the Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies, Xavier School Pres. Fr. Aristotle Dy. Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

These days there’s a strong following for Japanese animation, comics and games or Otaku culture among the Chinese youth. The freshmen attended an ACG Convention showing their popularity.

Legitimacy

The theme of legitimacy and acceptance is one that keeps cropping up. The norm in their school is to gain high enough grades and proficiency in their instrument that they qualify for scholarships abroad like Juliard and so on. This works for classical instruments like the piano, violin, cello etc.

While those in the program strictly concentrating on Chinese traditional instruments don’t have that ‘future’ or possibility of progressing abroad. So the classical music majors look down on students like Chen. That’s why there’s this ongoing war between the students of the two programs. In a way traditional Chinese music is fighting for its own legitimacy, as a dying art. (If the story of the movie is to be believed)

from left: Lu Zhaohua as Bei bei– instrument Ruan (moon shaped lute) and Han Zhongyu as Tata -instrument Pipa (pear shaped four stringed lute). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

The ACG freshmen on the other hand are into cosplay and are reclusive group who have their own need for acceptance. As students they walk around with weird hair and costumes. People around them pressure them to conform. This is the overall theme of the movie that just because something is different or doesn’t conform, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be accepted.

from left: Li Nuo as Sakura – instrument Er-hu (two stringed fiddle), Han Zhongyu as Tata -instrument Pipa (pear shaped four stringed lute), Liu Yongxi as Xiao Mai instrument Guzheng (Chinese zither with movable bridges) and Lu Zhaohua as Bei bei– instrument Ruan (moon shaped lute). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

History and Culture

They are rejected because of the way they look and their devotion to this lost ancient art of music. But for them the mastery of the instruments is not an end in itself. They immerse themselves in ancient history together with poetry and literature along with the music. For example, “The Chinese Zither or guqin often referred to as the instrument of sages for the purpose of enriching the heart and elevating human spirit. Confucius (around 600 BC) was a master of this instrument.” From: http://www.philmultic.com/home/instruments/

Liu Yongxi as Xiao Mai instrument Guzheng (Chinese zither with movable bridges). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Maybe in the real world, the youth of today will see how invaluable history and culture is not just in China but in all nations.

Flowers blossom on Mount Nanshan. Moss grows on the fence.

Flowers blossom across the mountains every spring.

The grass on the faraway plains, catkins dance in the wind.

The grass grows on the path every year.

I’ve finally waited for spring to arrive when the grass are green.

I’ve finally waited for the red flower to blossom.

With the flowering of your beauty the river of years flow past.

—From the Chinese traditional song: The Grassy Path, adapted from

“Romantic Dream In A Garden” in Peony Pavilion.

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300 Lanterns glowed for the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall. Catch free Chinese movies and other free activities as part of the Chinese New Year Celebration this month of Februrary. Photo by Jude Bautista

Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Painting by Pablo Ong Jr on Fan entitled Flowers In Bloom. A Chinese Painting Exhibit at the Grand Atrium of Shang Plaza Mall will run from Feb 13-18, 2018. Organized by the Ateneo Confucius Institute, the exhibit will culminate with a free Chinese Painting Workshop – Specifically on Jeans (Feb 18).

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Eason Chan as Inspection Director; Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Chinese Opera – Kaoka performance by Ateneo De Manila University faculty and students enlivened the opening of the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, February 13, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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(Feb 16)- Special mall wide Dragon Dance walkthrough, (Feb 25) 2pm there will be a cultural show entitled Philippine Ling Nam Dragon and Lion Exhibition at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City. Photo by Jude Bautista

Han Zhongyu as Tata -instrument Pipa (pear shaped four stringed lute) and Peng Yuchang as Li You – (drums). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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Luo Mingjie as Wang Wen; Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Chinese Opera – Kaoka performance by Ateneo De Manila University faculty and students enlivened the opening of the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, February 13, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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from left: Han Zhongyu as Tata -instrument Pipa (pear shaped four stringed lute), Lu Zhaohua as Bei bei instrument Ruan (moon shaped lute), Liu Yongxi as Xiao Mai instrument Guzheng (Chinese zither with movable bridges), Peng Yuchang as Li You – (drums)Xu Lu as Chen Jing instrument Yang-qin (Chinese Dulcimer) and Li Nuo as Sakura – instrument Er-hu (two stringed fiddle). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Luo Mingjie as Wang Wen; Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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from left: Lu Zhaohua as Bei bei– instrument Ruan (moon shaped lute), Li Nuo as Sakura instrument Er-hu (two stringed fiddle), Liu Yongxi as Xiao Mai instrument Guzheng (Chinese zither with movable bridges) and Han Zhongyu as Tata instrument Pipa (pear shaped four stringed lute). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

(Feb 16)- Special mall wide Dragon Dance walkthrough, (Feb 25) 2pm there will be a cultural show entitled Philippine Ling Nam Dragon and Lion Exhibition at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City. Photo by Jude Bautista

Lu Zhaohua as Bei bei– instrument Ruan (moon shaped lute). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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center: Peng Yuchang as Li You – (drums); Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Xu Lu as Chen Jing instrument Yang-qin (Chinese Dulcimer). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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Liu Yongxi as Xiao Mai instrument Guzheng (Chinese zither with movable bridges). Watch OUR SHINING DAYS and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/14686025@N00/

http://judebautista.tumblr.com/

300 Lanterns glowed for the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall. Catch free Chinese movies and other free activities as part of the Chinese New Year Celebration this month of Februrary. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Millennial China in Intriguing Musical

Lang Yueting (Kat); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Amoré, she reminds me of you.

Written by

Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista

“She is mysterious and beautiful. That’s why I’ll believe her.” For some inexplicable reason Lee Xiao (Wang Ziyi) was drawn to Kat (Lang Yueting). Maybe it was her looks but more than that she seemed to have a depth of character, intelligence, sophistication and deliberate modesty that was rare. So Lee could not help but fall for her.

Lang Yueting (Kat) and Wang Ziyi (Lee Xiang). Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

In a place where everyone has his or her own agenda, believing her is a declaration of love. Theirs is a budding office romance that can be considered innocent compared to long-standing and scandalous affairs of their bosses and coworkers.

Chow Yun Fat (Chairman Ho Chung Ping) and Sylvia Chang (CEO Winnie Chang). Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

You can watch Chow Yun Fat in THE OFFICE and many other award winning Chinese films for free on a first come first served basis. THE OFFICE is part of the Spring Film Festival organized by the Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies from February 13-18, 2018 at the Shang Cineplex, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City.

Ricardo Dy Leong and Dr. Rosita Leong, co founders of the Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Apart from the film festival there are a host of activities celebrating Chinese New Year that are open to the public and are free (also on a first come first served basis). This year the Chinese Painting Exhibit (opening on Feb 13) at the Grand Atrium will also have a painting workshop on jeans (Feb 18). For the schedule, details and other activities scroll down to the end of this article, below.

from right: Dr. Rosita Leong, Ricardo Dy Leong co founders of the Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies, ADMU Pres. Fr. Jett Villarin, Shangri La Plaza EVP & Gen Mgr Lala Fojas and Flexo Manufacturing Director Pet Bautista. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Despite having the same title, THE OFFICE (Chinese film) has nothing to do with the successful TV comedy from the U.K. created and starred in by Ricky Gervais and subsequent U.S. version with Steve Carell. It couldn’t be more different.

Chow Yun Fat (Chairman Ho Chung Ping); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

This intriguing movie is the complete anti-thesis of how people perceive China’s economic landscape. Vicious, inner corporate politics, insider trading, financial manipulation, sexual intrigue it all sounds like a Wall Street storyline but that’s what THE OFFICE is about. Even if it is set in the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, the seemingly unfettered, free market where a large corporation’s greed and power is unregulated can be shocking coming from what is still supposed to be under the auspices of China’s Socialist (some say Communist) state.

The story redefines what we think of as a ‘Chinese movie’. Fascinating doesn’t begin to describe it. The futuristic sets, lighting can give BLADE RUNNER 2 a run for its money.

Sylvia Chang (CEO Winnie Chang); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Based On

As if the story isn’t unique enough, coming from a supposed Socialist state in China, it is of all things, a musical. Based on a stage show written by Sylvia Chang, entitled DESIGN FOR LIVING. The musical approach is a novelty in Chinese cinema and is actually a worthwhile effort. They achieved the right balance between spoken dialogue interspersed with only the occasional musical portion. Some of them though are spectacular complete with elaborate dance sequences, reminiscent of the success in LA LA LAND.

THE OFFICE earned 2 Best Art Direction awards for the stunning production design and overall look. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

What sets this apart, however, is the story and production design along with the performances. 2 Best Art Direction trophies to William Chau and Alfred Yau validated this from the 52nd Golden Horse Awards and Hong Kong Film Awards. The unique musicality was also recognized with Best Original Film Score for Lo Tayu and Keith Chan Fai-young from the Hong Kong Film Awards.—according to official wikiwand page.

THE OFFICE earned 2 Best Art Direction awards for the stunning production design and overall look. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Cut Out Walls and Trains

Hundreds of strip lights are suspended on a ceiling of a wide impressive lobby that leads to elevators of the palatial Jones & Sunn Headquarters. Rooms, even apartments can sometimes be sliced right in the middle as if the walls were cut out. In other instances the walls are made of glass.

THE OFFICE earned 2 Best Art Direction awards for the stunning production design and overall look. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

This is a style most often used in theater, so live audiences can witness performances within those rooms built on stage. Here it also seems to be a statement that private conversations or affairs will all be revealed or known. Taking it further, even trains are given this cut out or see through treatment, while functioning on rails. The technical achievement for production design is mind-boggling.

They constructed a functioning see through MTR. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

In the center of the CEO’s and other top execs offices is a giant clock that shows its gears, moving and the whole thing rotates. It may be another physical metaphor of the organization as it inevitably reveals its inner workings.

THE OFFICE earned 2 Best Art Direction awards for the stunning production design and overall look. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Filipino Brand Makes It

For a smaller detail, in the bar scene where the employees relax, the beer of choice in China these days is San Miguel Beer Light specifically. As the world is flooded by cheap Chinese imports its nice to see at least one Filipino brand making it into this prominent film. Perhaps in the next blockbuster it could be Tanduay Rhum, which took home BRAND OF THE YEAR honors 3 years in a row for the Philippines.

300 Lanterns glowed for the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall. Catch free Chinese movies and other free activities as part of the Chinese New Year Celebration this month of Februrary. Photo by Jude Bautista

Who Really Wears The Pants

Chow Yun Fat as tycoon Ho Chung Ping is the most recognizable name in the cast, internationally that is. His character is chairman of the trading company, but it was his wife’s family who built it. Ho married into his fortune. While he attends to his wife in the hospital, he leaves the operations to CEO Winnie Chang played by Sylvia Chang Ai-Chia. She adapted her stage script for the screen while director Johnnie To helmed the movie version.

from left: Chow Yun Fat (Chairman Ho Chung Ping) and Director Johnnie To. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Sylvia is the long time actress, screenwriter and filmmaker who initially produced and starred in DESIGN FOR LIVING on which THE OFFICE is based on. The play became a huge hit when it first ran in 2009 and was able to expand its tour from the originally planned Beijing and Shanghai to all across China— according to New York Times article: A Filmmaker Finds Her Play Is the Thing.

Sylvia Chang (CEO Winnie Chang); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Notable Performances

Almost tailor made for this movie is Canto pop superstar Eason Chan. His role as David Wang is a successful executive who uses his charms to seduce women to get ahead. Eason also appears in the movie OUR SHINING DAYS in Spring Film fest which you can also watch for free. OUR SHINIG DAYS is about Otaku culture, animation and comics in China.

Eason Chan (David Wang) and Tang Wei (Sophie); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Original intent

It was also Sylvia’s vision to change THE OFFICE into a musical once set to screen. She has directed over 10 movies and written and starred in many more. As an actress she has the record for most nominations for Best Actress at the Hong Kong Film Awards and won twice. Her performance here is that of a powerful woman willing to do anything to succeed. She wasn’t however, able to impart as much of the traditional Chinese values that was her original intent for the play.

from right: Sylvia Chang (CEO Winnie Chang), Eason Chan (David Wang) and Tang Wei (Sophie). Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

New Face of China

For me what was more apparent was the ‘greed is good’ mantra made famous by Gordon Gecko played by Michael Douglas in the 1987 film WALLSTREET. As an outsider looking in seeing this portrayal of a Chinese company can be shocking. There is always the perception that large Chinese corporations were if not controlled by the government closely worked with them. This is a complete and utter departure from that. In both movies, they fall victim to the stock market as well in the case of THE OFFICE – the banking crisis following the fall of the Lehman Brothers. What Sylvia Chang was able to show here, instead more accurately, is the new face of China for the millennium.

Chow Yun Fat (Chairman Ho Chung Ping) and Sylvia Chang (CEO Winnie Chang). Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Lang Yueting (Kat) and Wang Ziyi (Lee Xiang). Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Scheduled activities for Chinese New Year:

Also starting on February 13, is the Chinese Painting Exhibit at the Grand Atrium, which features outstanding works by students and masters of the Ateneo Confucius Institute. The exhibition runs until February 18, culminating with a Chinese Painting Workshop (Paint Your Jeans) on February 18, 2 pm at the Grand Atrium open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.

Painting by Pablo Ong Jr on Fan entitled Mother and Child. A Chinese Painting Exhibit at the Grand Atrium of Shang Plaza Mall will run from Feb 13-18, 2018. Organized by the Ateneo Confucius Institute, the exhibit will culminate with a free Chinese Painting Workshop – Specifically on Jeans (Feb 18).

On New Year’s Day, February 16, a special mall-wide Chinese Dragon and Lion Mall Walkthrough takes place at 12 noon. On February 17, 2 pm at the Grand Atrium, visitors of the Shang will be treated to a Chinese Music Concert by the Ateneo Ricardo Leong Center that showcases different aspects of authentic Chinese culture, with a lineup that includes a performance by the Philippine York Lin School Chorale, an Er Hu exhibition, a musical performance by a local Chinese orchestra, a wushu exhibition by the Philippine York Lin School Wushu Group and an inspiring musical performance by Mr. Albert Cedric Tan, a talented pianist who has flourished despite being born blind and struggling with ADHD and autism.

Chinese Opera – Kaoka performance by Ateneo De Manila University faculty and students enlivened the opening of the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, February 13, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Another special cultural show, the Philippine Ling Nam Dragon and Lion Exhibition will be held on February 25 at 2 pm by the Philippine Ling Nam Athletic Federation, an organization founded in 1956 dedicated to Chinese martial arts, as well as the traditional lion and dragon dance. Young members of the group will be showcasing their talents in a medley of dance, wushu, and drum performances at the Grand Atrium.

(Feb 16)- Special mall wide Dragon Dance walkthrough, (Feb 25) 2pm there will be a cultural show entitled Philippine Ling Nam Dragon and Lion Exhibition at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City. Photo by Jude Bautista

More exciting events will be happening throughout the month in celebration of Chinese New Year, Shang will light up the sky with a fireworks display on February 15, 9 pm at the Streetscape, the Flavors of China market on from February 8 to 18 at the Food Forum, consultations for a lucky year with Master Charlie Chao on February 16 and 17, 4 PM to 8 PM at Luxury Lane and Mysterium Manila on February 16 to 18 at the Level 4, Open Café. The Oodles of Noodles food fest will run from February 16 – 28, featuring special noodle dishes with special discounts from participating restaurants.

A Lucky Pagoda was constructed at the ground floor of Shang Plaza Mall, where you can read your Chinese Horoscope prospects in this year of the Dog at the foot of the tower. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Lang Yueting (Kat) and Wang Ziyi (Lee Xiang). Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Chow Yun Fat (Chairman Ho Chung Ping) and Lang Yueting (Kat); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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300 Lanterns glowed for the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall. Catch free Chinese movies and other free activities as part of the Chinese New Year Celebration this month of Februrary. Photo by Jude Bautista

Lang Yueting (Kat); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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Eason Chan (David Wang) and Tang Wei (Sophie); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Chow Yun Fat (Chairman Ho Chung Ping); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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Center: Shang Plaza Mall GM & EVP Lala Fojas with Chinese Opera – Kaoka performers from Ateneo De Manila University faculty and students during the opening of the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, February 13, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Eason Chan (David Wang) and Tang Wei (Sophie); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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Tien Hsin (Karling); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Wang Ziyi (Lee Xiang); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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(Feb 16)- Special mall wide Dragon Dance walkthrough, (Feb 25) 2pm there will be a cultural show entitled Philippine Ling Nam Dragon and Lion Exhibition at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City. Photo by Jude Bautista

Eason Chan (David Wang) and Sylvia Chang (CEO Winnie Chang). Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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Eason Chan (David Wang); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Wang Ziyi (Lee Xiang); Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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Chinese Opera – Kaoka performance by Ateneo De Manila University faculty and students enlivened the opening of the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall, February 13, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

THE OFFICE earned 2 Best Art Direction awards for the stunning production design and overall look. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/14686025@N00/

http://judebautista.tumblr.com/

THE OFFICE earned 2 Best Art Direction awards for the stunning production design and overall look. Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

Chow Yun Fat (Chairman Ho Chung Ping) and Sylvia Chang (CEO Winnie Chang). Watch THE OFFICE and other movies for free in the Spring Film Fest running at Shang Cineplex, Shang Plaza Mall from Feb 13-18, 2018.

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300 Lanterns glowed for the Spring Film Festival 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri La Plaza Mall. Catch free Chinese movies and other free activities as part of the Chinese New Year Celebration this month of Februrary. Photo by Jude Bautista

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